2020 Georgia Code
Title 40 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic
Chapter 2 - Registration and Licensing of Motor Vehicles
Article 3 - Prestige License Plates and Special Plates for Certain Persons and Vehicles
§ 40-2-85.3. Gold Star License Plates
- Special license plates honoring the family members of service members who have been killed in action while serving in the armed forces of the United States shall be issued in this state. The license plate shall be officially designated as the Gold Star license plate.
- The commissioner, in cooperation with supporters of this license plate, shall design a special license plate for the family members of service members who have been killed in action while serving in the armed forces of the United States. The license plates must be of the same size as general issue motor vehicle license plates and shall include a unique design and identifying number, whereby the total number of characters does not exceed an amount to be determined by the commissioner. The license plate shall bear in a conspicuous place a gold star with blue fringe on a white background with a red border. This is the symbol for a fallen service member. In the indented area normally used for the county of residence decal, the words "Gold Star Family" shall be displayed.
- Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section, this Code section shall not be implemented until such time as the State of Georgia has, through a licensing agreement or otherwise, received such license or other permission as may be required to implement this Code section. The design of the initial edition of such special license plate, as well as the design of subsequent editions and excepting only any part or parts of the designs owned by others and licensed to the state, shall be owned solely by the State of Georgia for its exclusive use and control, except as authorized by the commissioner. The commissioner may take such steps as may be necessary to give notice of and protect such right, including the copyright or copyrights. However, such steps shall be cumulative of the ownership and exclusive use and control established by this subsection as a matter of law, and no person shall reproduce or otherwise use such design or designs, except as authorized by the commissioner.
- Any motor vehicle owner who is a resident of Georgia, other than one registering under the International Registration Plan, upon complying with state laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles shall be issued such a special license plate upon application therefor. Special license plates issued under this Code section shall be renewed annually with a revalidation decal as provided in Code Section 40-2-31. Upon payment of all ad valorem taxes and other fees due at registration of a motor vehicle, an eligible family member may apply for a Gold Star license plate. In order to qualify as an eligible family member for purposes of this Code section, the person must be related to the fallen service member as a spouse, mother, father, sibling, child, stepparent, or surviving spouse of such service member's sibling. Up to two free license plates shall be allowed for any eligible family member and they may purchase additional license plates for each motor vehicle they register in this state. If a Gold Star license plate is lost, damaged, or stolen, the eligible family member must pay the reasonable cost, to be established by the department, but not to exceed the cost of other specialty license plates, to replace the Gold Star license plate.
- Whether a service member is deemed to have been killed in action shall be determined by the classification of death as listed by the United States Department of Defense and may be verified from documentation directly from the Department of Defense.
- Free Gold Star license plates shall be issued only to eligible family members who resided in Georgia at the time of the death of the service member. However, an eligible family member who was not a resident of Georgia at the time of the death of the service member may purchase a Gold Star license plate, at a cost to be established by the department, not to exceed the cost of other specialty license plates.
- Renewal decals shall be issued at no cost to any person that received a free license plate under the provisions of this Code section upon the payment of ad valorem taxes and other registration fees, provided that the renewal is applied for on or within 30 days prior to the renewal date of the eligible person. If the eligible person fails to renew within such time, he or she shall pay a standard renewal fee and be subject to the standard penalties for late payment of ad valorem taxes due on the motor vehicle.
- An eligible family member may request a Gold Star license plate at any time during his or her registration period. If such a license plate is to replace a current valid license plate, the license plate shall be issued with appropriate renewal decals attached.
- License plates issued pursuant to this Code section shall not be transferred between vehicles as provided in Code Section 40-2-42, unless the transfer is to another motor vehicle owned by the eligible family member.
- Gold Star license plates shall be issued within 30 days of application.
- The commissioner is authorized and directed to establish procedures and promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this Code section.
(Code 1981, §40-2-86.18, enacted by Ga. L. 2006, p. 741, § 1/SB 523; Code 1981, §40-2-85.3, as redesignated by Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-76; Ga. L. 2010, p. 141, § 1; Ga. L. 2015, p. 816, § 4/HB 48; Ga. L. 2018, p. 159, § 1/HB 287.)Cross references.
- Exemption from ad valorem taxation for state, county, municipal, and school purposes of homesteads of unremarried surviving spouses of U.S. service members killed in action, § 48-5-52.1.
The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2018, in subsection (d), inserted a comma following "motor vehicle" in the third sentence, substituted "stepparent" for "step-parent" in the fourth sentence, substituted "Up to two free license plates shall be allowed for any eligible family member" for "One free license plate shall be allowed for the spouse, mother, and father," in the fifth sentence, deleted the former sixth and seventh sentences, which read: "Siblings, children, step-parents, or surviving spouses of siblings of service members may purchase Gold Star license plates for motor vehicles registered in this state. The cost of a Gold Star license plate shall be established by the department, but shall not exceed the cost of other specialty license plates."; and, in subsection (f), substituted "Free Gold Star license plates shall be issued only to eligible family members" for "A free Gold Star license plate shall be issued only to the spouse, mother, and father of service members" in the first sentence, and deleted ", except for nonresident siblings or surviving spouses of such nonresident siblings," following "family member" in the second sentence.Code Commission notes.
- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2006, Code Section 40-2-86.18, as enacted by Ga. L. 2006, p. 801, § 1/SB 539, was redesignated as Code Section 40-2-86.19; Code Section 40-2-86.18 as enacted by Ga. L. 2006, p. 803, § 1/SB 538, was redesignated as Code Section 40-2-86.20; and Code Section 40-2-86.18 as enacted by Ga. L. 2006, p. 1094, § 12/HB 1053, was redesignated as Code Section 40-2-86.21.
The amendment of subsection (a) of this Code section by Ga. L. 2010, p. 9, § 1-76/HB 1055, irreconcilably conflicted with and was treated as superseded by Ga. L. 2010, p. 141, § 1. See County of Butts v. Strahan, 151 Ga. 417 (1921); Keener v. McDougall, 232 Ga. 273 (1974).
Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2018, "stepparent" was substituted for "stepparrent" in subsection (d).